Art, like life, can get messy. 

That's exactly what painter and mixed media artist Colleen Peterson loves about it. Besides being a creative outlet, getting creative is great stress relief.

“It doesn't matter what I make, as long as I get my hands dirty,” she says.

It often starts with a blank canvas, which - for Colleen - is a scary place to start. Random bits of inspiration help her to get started: feelings, requests from customers, random items she finds. 

Like the time she got creative with her boyfriend's homemade beer bottle labels. Or the time she took a broken coffee pot and turned it into a piece. 

“I didn't realize I had a style until someone told me,” Colleen says. “They said, 'You do have a style. You're messy!' My acrylics are really wet and all over the place, and I'm always covered in paint.”

Colleen dabbled with art in high school, and liked it. She made comics, and even thought about fashion design and interior design as outlets. It was The Singularity that put her paintings in her first show. 

“All I had was random stuff I made,” Colleen says. “I enjoyed it, so I just did it.”

Some of the emotions behind her pieces are messy, too, like the first time she ever sold one of her works. It was heartbreak that helped her make it, and heartbreak that came after she sold it.

“I didn't want to sell it. I cried,” she says. 


Now Colleen works mainly with custom pieces and requests, like the wedding centerpiece she worked on while we talked. Often, all she needs is a bit of direction to un-blank that canvas.

“One person I just had, she really likes peacock feathers, and she wanted purples,” she says. “So I made her something really cool that's probably one of my favorites I've made in a while. And she was really stoked. It felt good.”

Colleen is big on customers being able to afford her art. She wants more people to come to Jackson art shows, too, and to help spread awareness about the arts community in town.

“There's always people saying 'There's nothing to do,' but all these other people are working really hard to put on a show,” she says. “It's one of the most frustrating things to me. Support your community!”

She loves seeing the art community come together, and seeing her fellow artists develop their talent. 

“There's a lot of people that complain about our town, and then there are people making it beautiful.”